Study Groups at the Library: Reading Activities 1
Fostering the creation of study groups at the Library would promote more independent active learning , and be more effective with multi-level groups. It would require a study tutor and a group of 4-6 participants. The study group method is applicable for adult learners, and can be relevant to groups such as ESL students, literacy learners, upgrading students, lifelong learners, and college and university level students.
Activities could include self-paced reading, where the tutor encourages readers to pursue their own readings. Nearby, there is a selection of graded novels, along with graphic novels, magazines and large print novels. Close by, there is a selection of books the participants identified they would like to have as part of their reading lists.
Students would practice self-study skills, including note-taking specific for vocabulary building and pronunciation. One column of the page of notes would be a list of little known words; the other column on the page would be words and phrases hard to say aloud. After each 30-40 minute reading session, students would have completed a list of vocabulary, phrases, idioms, and questions; participants can ask questions of their tutor while in the group. The individual reading is done together as a group.
I have observed that students need to be gradually introduced to the activity of solitary reading and note-taking. The tutor plays a critical role of supporting participants, keeping them on track, and encouraging them. The tutor reads alongside the participants, actively learning by reading, and modeling the reading skills needed for successful extensive reading. During the reading, the tutor can help readers with questions, After the 45 minute session has ended, the tutor can elicit participants to share their lists, and go over the list of new words and phrases, explaining definitions and contexts, asking participants to read the words and phrases in context, and practicing pronunciation of words participants identified.
Once participants are comfortable reading on a regular basis, and using a reading log to make note of new words and challenging words to say aloud, the next step is to introduce a number of activities to extends and deepens learning.